The Lincoln Continental. It is one of the oldest and most iconic luxury nameplates around having been in production for over 50 years before it was discontinued 15 years ago. The marquee has finally returned for 2017 as Ford breathes new life into its flagship brand. The nameplate has recovered nicely from its low point which is up for debate but for me was in 2005 when the Lincoln Zephyr I was test driving had the same upper vents as the Ford F150 pick up truck.
I was invited to experience the new livery from both seats – front and back as my test unit came with its own driver! Both were returned by the way without a scratch. The purpose was to showcase the available rear seat package. The Lincoln Continental name represents quiet luxury and that is particularly evident sitting in the back of this car watching the world go by in decibels lower than the library we just passed. The rear seat package ($5,000) adds a beautiful center armrest console with a digital display, sun blinds, heated and cooled seats with four way active motion power lumbar and power recline to cocoon and pamper you., You can also move the front passenger’s seat forward to allow for extra legroom. The rear seat view is enhanced with a huge dual panel moon roof and the climate controls benefit from extra vents. Basically you have your own world back there with its own climate. It’s easy to start fantasizing about your own personal driver but the Continental is equally luxurious up front and a pleasure to drive. The seating is like none other with bolster panels that are strikingly beautiful making the seats look more the captain’s chair in a future star ship Enterprise. They are functionally attractive as well with available 30 way adjustable seating and massage settings.
The driving experience is cloud like. While the handling is more than adequate this car is not designed to go hard into the corners. The adaptive steering is a little too sensitive to give you that road hugging confidence for more aggressive driving. It’s designed to feel like you’re flying and every passenger is in first class.
There are three driving settings Normal, Comfort and Sport. The latter is nice to firm up the suspension and get you more in tune with the road as opposed to the aforementioned cloud. My Reserve test unit came with the optional 3.0 litre GTDI V6 with 400 hp and was very responsive with no shortage of power on demand for passing with its six speed transmission. Even with all wheel drive I was pleasantly surprised to find my mileage was a little better than the specs. My combined city highway driving consumed 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres under the advertised 12.3 L/100 km.
The Continental certainly makes a statement with a grille made up of the repeating Lincoln logo shape that sets off a bling look reminiscent of the Jaguar XJ. The attitude of the car seems to change as you walk around it starting with an authoritative, muscular front end to its elegant side profile and rear deck.
The LED lighting features on the Continental welcome you as you approach the car and it comes to life with the illuminated Lincoln logo projected onto the driveway or parking lot from under the door handles. Gimmicky and I don’t care. It looks cool! The illuminated door handles themselves are the nicest I’ve seen with a very cool e latch system. The doors electronically open and latch close with just the lightest touch of the door handle. Besides evoking a feel of elegance it’s also practical in tight parking situations where slamming the door shut isn’t an option.
The Continental’s $5,500 Luxury Package includes Revel’s Ultima 19-speaker audio system. It is a pricey package but the sound is concert hall or audiophile quality. It has 19 speakers and 3 different listening modes. The exceptional leather and interior trim components such as dash and door coverings enhance the acoustics. Extra points for using old school knobs instead of the on screen interface. There’s nothing more irritating than fumbling for mute or tapping the screen repeatedly just to turn the volume up or down.
There is no crash test data available yet but there’s an inherent safety factor in luxury sedans of this side with airbags to spare. The Technology package ($3,000) includes many safety items like 360 degree cameras and a 180 degree split view in the grille to boost cross traffic visibility. The Technology package also includes Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Collision Alert. The dynamic Adaptive HD headlights are standard equipment but there’s nothing standard about them. swivel with the direction of your turn and have reflectors that are activated based on vehicle speed.
The choices are many but the Continentals direct competitor has to be Cadillac’s CT6. You will find similarly priced offerings in Mercedes and BMW showrooms and even Hyundai’s Genesis spin off. Some focus more on power and drive than the quiet luxury focus from Lincoln so that preference may be your guide. The luxury sedan market is getting new attention from emerging markets and the return of the Continental name is a fresh and welcome addition.
2017 Lincoln Continental Reserve
3.0 litre GTDI V6 with 6 speed Selectshift transmission
As tested $76,950.00
Mileage 14.4 L/100 km city and 9.7 L/100 km hwy and 12.3 L/100 km combined